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id Software founder John Carmack resigns
November 22, 2013 4:00 PM   Subscribe

John Carmack, co-founder and technical director at id Software, has left the company to focus his full-time attention on his role as chief technical officer at Oculus VR.

"I wanted to remain a technical adviser for Id, but it just didn't work out. Probably for the best, as the divided focus was challenging."

Carmack and Id are known for creating the Commander Keen, Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake video game franchises.
posted by bdz (60 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was kind of expecting this to happen. Well, him leaving one of the two. Didn't he just start doing something at a third company recently too?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:02 PM on November 22, 2013


Can't be true, his .plan doesn't mention any of this.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:06 PM on November 22, 2013 [18 favorites]


Can't be true, his .plan doesn't mention any of this.

...and then I realized that someone is still posting at Blue's News. Huh.
posted by brennen at 4:08 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone else remember when John Carmack announcements came from his .plan?
posted by furtive at 4:09 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Never mind.
posted by furtive at 4:10 PM on November 22, 2013


There was, at one point, an archive of all his .plan files but even that is gone. He should resurrect it for one last update.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:13 PM on November 22, 2013


Somewhere, American McGee is intensely staring at his phone.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:17 PM on November 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


ID IS TIED FOR THE LEAD
ID HAS LOST THE LEAD
posted by infinitewindow at 4:18 PM on November 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


Meanwhile John Romero is up to hahahaha nobody cares.
posted by Blue Meanie at 4:27 PM on November 22, 2013 [18 favorites]


After Doom 3 I think I'd prefer Carmack work on the Rift.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:32 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


id Software, 1993
posted by Ad hominem at 4:37 PM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]






id Software, 1993 yt

I'm working on a big post for the twentieth anniversary of Doom next month and this is totally going in it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:40 PM on November 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Somehow I never figured out a huge chunk of Doom and Quake levels, some of the best Quake levels IMHO, were designed by Sandy Peterson of Call of Cthulhu fame.
posted by Artw at 4:42 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Somehow I never figured out a huge chunk of Doom and Quake levels, some of the best Quake levels IMHO, were designed by Sandy Peterson of Call of Cthulhu fame.

Somebody asked him once if all the demons and Hellish imagery of Doom didn't bother him, being a Mormon, and his response was along the lines of "You know the demons are the bad guys, right?"
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:44 PM on November 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


Sandy Peterson's argument was the same one I used on my silly Mother when I was a child. She was up in arms about me playing doom and I sputtered out "but the demons from hell are the bad guys. I am killing them. What is the problem?"
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 4:46 PM on November 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also, Pope, I am thrilled to see some one is going to do a twenty year post for doom. I've been playing through the episodes in order with the newest Brutal Doom mod. I am so excited for this upcoming anniversary!!!!
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 4:49 PM on November 22, 2013


It's probably for the best. id hasn't made anything really notable since Quake. Carmack is extremely talented technically, but he's always lacked the support he needs to make great games ever since the original Doom team broke up. Having him on a project like the Oculus rift makes way more sense than having him put together great engine after great engine so the rest of id can make mediocre games for them.
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:01 PM on November 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Twenty years ago. Huh.

It occurs to me that the Doom release, which I had waited for eagerly after subscribing to Leukart's mailing list for several months, and which I then played obsessively, was just about six weeks before my wife left me, precipitating our divorce.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:11 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The more recent id efforts seem like they were just demos for the engine, except nobody's really licensing it. These days it's all about CryEngine or Frostbyte or Unreal.
posted by kmz at 5:12 PM on November 22, 2013


Whatever Carmack is working on, that is a reason to be excited about how awesome it will be.

So I am more excited about the Rift now.
posted by griphus at 5:18 PM on November 22, 2013


It's probably for the best. id hasn't made anything really notable since Quake.

How about Quake III (even though Unreal Tournament was more to my liking)? I still remember the breathless reviews about the effects on the pew-pew handgun in Quake II. I wonder if Quake is to blame for the beige shooter.
posted by ersatz at 5:33 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


ersatz: How about Quake III (even though Unreal Tournament was more to my liking)?

Well, you kind of sum it up right there; Quake III came out contemporaneously with something that had a similar concept but was better. That makes it less notable.
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:44 PM on November 22, 2013


Doom -- My first obsessive PC game.

Still have *legal* copies of Doom and Doom2 and still play, though these days mostly on Linux using Doomsday.
posted by jgaiser at 5:48 PM on November 22, 2013


I can't help but think this and the recent changes to Quake Live are somehow related.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:53 PM on November 22, 2013


The more recent id efforts seem like they were just demos for the engine, except nobody's really licensing it. These days it's all about CryEngine or Frostbyte or Unreal.

Frostbite is strictly internal to EA. It's mostly Unreal (AAA) and Unity (indie/small team) these days with CryEngine snapping up a bunch of smaller/in-development MMOs (MWO, Star Citizen).

I wonder if Quake is to blame for the beige shooter.

More like a marriage of convenience with technical limitations. Palette limitations to save on texture memory were a major factor, and location types that align to large square grids (warehouses, military bases, sewers, etc.) for quick copy/paste geometry duplication also tended to produce rather unimaginative color schemes.
posted by Ryvar at 5:56 PM on November 22, 2013


Valve to reveal virtual reality prototype, big plans for Steam support

I thought this was a headline from The Onion at first.
posted by WhitenoisE at 5:58 PM on November 22, 2013


You know, it's surprising how well Doom holds up over the years. If you get a source mod that improves the resolution and gives it modern controls, it's actually still really fun. Doom was technologically revolutionary at the time, but when you get past that, it's actually a great game that plays well and looks good (if you take limitations into account). This mostly goes for Doom 2, as well.

This isn't the case so much for other id games. Quake is still pretty fun by modern standards, but it isn't as fun as Doom, and it looks like hell. Quake II doesn't hold up at all on either a gameplay or graphical level, and really represents where id started to stop making decent games for their engines.
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:09 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, it's surprising how well Doom holds up over the years.

Good game design doesn't go obsolete.
posted by JHarris at 6:11 PM on November 22, 2013 [14 favorites]


I would say the same thing for level design. E1M2 computer cores, anyone?
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 6:23 PM on November 22, 2013


I was a big UT fan, myself. There was just more to do, and each weapon having multiple firing modes was great. And that rocket launcher! You could shoot one rocket, charge up to six rockets in a spread, or charge up to six rockets and launch them all clustered together, or launch a grenade, or charge up to launch up to six grenades, and all of those options save the grenades came with optional lock-on, and the way you did them was all entirely intuitive and required two buttons that your fingers were over anyway. UT's rocket launcher was amazing.

Also Assault mode, which is IMO the best mode.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:53 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


The biggest thing that sticks in my mind about Doom, strangely enough, is the sound effects. Once the door opening or scream sounds are burned into your mind, you start noticing them in media everywhere.
posted by indubitable at 7:02 PM on November 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


I was a big UT fan, myself. There was just more to do, and each weapon having multiple firing modes was great. And that rocket launcher! You could shoot one rocket, charge up to six rockets in a spread, or charge up to six rockets and launch them all clustered together, or launch a grenade, or charge up to launch up to six grenades, and all of those options save the grenades came with optional lock-on, and the way you did them was all entirely intuitive and required two buttons that your fingers were over anyway. UT's rocket launcher was amazing.

Also Assault mode, which is IMO the best mode.


FragBall/Bombing Run for me. Best LAN parties ever.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:11 PM on November 22, 2013


Masters of Doom is a great read if you're interested in the early days of id software, pc game development, and other stuff.
posted by hellojed at 7:17 PM on November 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, you kind of sum it up right there; Quake III came out contemporaneously with something that had a similar concept but was better. That makes it less notable.

A lot of people loved Q3 even though my preference lies with UT and its sniper rifle. UT is the last FPS I really *liked*, but I'm far from representative audience. It's kind of funny because I used to love FPSs growing up and most of them were built on Carmack's technology: W3d, DOOM, Hexen/Heretic, Quake.
posted by ersatz at 7:42 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


John Carmack was the last of Id's founders to still be with the company. Even setting aside the centrality of his technical contributions, that alone is noteworthy - succeed or fail, from this point on, Id is without a single person who made Doom.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:13 PM on November 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


ersatz: A lot of people loved Q3 even though my preference lies with UT and its sniper rifle. UT is the last FPS I really *liked*, but I'm far from representative audience.

A lot of people did like Quake 3, but I think a lot of it was brand loyalty. In retrospect, it's hard not to say UT was better - it had better weapons, better levels, better bots, a better campaign, more game modes that were more diverse, etc. I actually can't think of anything except graphics (maybe) that Quake 3 was better at. But it's more a matter of UT being amazing than Q3 being bad.

I'm surprised that you didn't like UT2004, if you liked UT. I consider UT2004 assault to be the absolute best multiplayer FPS experience of all time.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:16 PM on November 22, 2013


The man is on a personal quest to slay latency in consumer devices. Godspeed.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:23 PM on November 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


Actually I can totally see why you'd like Q3- it runs at a speed which is significantly higher then UT, and if what you're after is fast-paced fraggery, I'd recommend Q3 over UT in a second. I prefer UT's somewhat slower, more deliberate pace and broader options, but preferring the faster pace of Q3 makes sense to me.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:39 PM on November 22, 2013


Id is without a single person who made Doom

Kevin Cloud's still there. He wasn't a founder, but he worked on the original Doom.
posted by Bluecoat93 at 9:36 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know, it's surprising how well Doom holds up over the years. If you get a source mod that improves the resolution and gives it modern controls, it's actually still really fun.

"This newfangled mouse-look stuff will never catch on, it's way too annoying."

--me playing DN3d
posted by Sparx at 10:47 PM on November 22, 2013


Quake was the game that got me into my career.

The chinese restaurant I managed got burned to the ground (long story) and I found myself unemployed in a strange town. I took a job driving truck for a lumber yard. I spent my evenings playing quake at a custom computer shop down the street that had a small lan you could play multiplayer games on for a few bucks an hour.

I wasted my evenings there. Got to know the guys and eventually got hired to help build PCs. They ran a promotion that if you and your friends could beat Orion69 at Quake, you could play for free.

I never got beat. Close sometimes, but I never lost. Best job ever. I might spend a whole Tuesday afternoon playing video games while you other losers were having status meeting about some project nobody gives a shit about.

I miss that job. And those people and those days....

Carmacks .plan file was a big part of it. I knew this day would come - he was way too smart to waste making video games. I am only surprised it took so long.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:59 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


"This newfangled mouse-look stuff will never catch on, it's way too annoying."

The first time I ever played with mouselook was the demo for Hexen 2 that came with a CD of Wolfenstein and Spear of Destiny. It was amazing and I immediately lost my ability to play Doom with a keyboard because it was just so frustrating. It was like trying to play an FPS with control sticks. I'll never know how we put up with it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:29 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Following John Carmack's career got me my most recent job. One of the interview questions was about matrix transforms, I didn't even answer I just said "you are going to run into gimbal lock, you need to use quaternions". #thankyoujc
posted by Ad hominem at 12:23 AM on November 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


UT was definitely the better product at the time -- lots of content, more game modes, way better production values. But I think time has shown how great Quake III truly was. Nothing approaches it from the standpoint of pure, competitive gameplay. While Epic has never fostered much of a competitive scene for their games, Quake III (as Quake Live) is still played competitively in tournaments even today. In my opinion, that was the last great id title.

Good luck to Carmack in his future endeavors!
posted by Herschel at 12:26 AM on November 23, 2013


Ah, Carmack games. You can have any colors you want so long as they are brown.
posted by Justinian at 12:30 AM on November 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Best LAN parties ever.

The thing that kills me about getting older is that kids today will never know the joy of hauling a tower and a CRT to a friend's house, daisy-chaining power strips, buying a router at CompUSA with the intention of returning it the next day, and just spending a day eating pizza and playing games. Such an important part of my adolescence, and it's essentially gone.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:38 AM on November 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


I liked Quake 3 a lot (the fantastic multi-player made up for the worthless single player game), but in hindsight it was probably more notable for its engine than for its content. idTech 3 got used for a little game named "Call of Duty" which I've heard became kind of popular with the kids.
posted by roystgnr at 3:15 AM on November 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing that kills me about getting older is that kids today will never know the joy of hauling a tower and a CRT to a friend's house, daisy-chaining power strips, buying a router at CompUSA with the intention of returning it the next day, and just spending a day eating pizza and playing games.

Back in the day, 1998-2001, I got to do that at work. The company I worked for had a computer club, set up back in the eighties as a Very Serious Club for Serious people Serious about Computers, but which now was in the hands of people who knew the fun of a good death match. The first week I worked there I took part and won a Quake II tournament and over the years my cow-orkers and I played our way through Quake II, III, Unreal Tournament, Unreal, Aliens vs Predators and Halflife during our lunch breaks and after work.

Best job ever.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:10 AM on November 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile John Romero is up to hahahaha nobody cares.

Actually, I do! I just spent some time looking up the original crew after seeing the picture of id from the 90's that's been circulating again.

He's a pretty decent guy that really cares about games, and I hope things end up going well for him.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:23 AM on November 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


How has this thread been here so long without anyone mentioning the Trent Reznor Quake soundtrack? Mmmmmm. I've always liked to think that it was a practical joke at id's expense--that Reznor got paid to produce 10+ solid electronic/rock tracks, but he wasn't feeling it so he started with a wonderful heart pounding opening and then just segued into slow burning, all consuming ambient dread for another hour. It's easily one of the best/most interesting game soundtracks, regardless of the actual story.

Also the biggest argument against the nostalgizing above; that and Quake having much better art direction than Doom. Fighting words: I bring them.
posted by byanyothername at 9:50 AM on November 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ahem. Wolfenstein—Muse Software, Baltimore. Sheesh.

Expanded the franchise, perhaps. Created—never.
posted by sonascope at 11:44 AM on November 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


byanyothername: We must have a difference in taste. I don't like Quake's art direction. It's far too brown, and every level looks the same. The monsters also don't have the personality or fear factor of the ones in Doom. Doom was very good about making monsters that didn't actually pose that much of a threat look and sound terrifying.

But then again, I didn't like the soundtrack at the time, or ambient soundtracks in general (aka 'this game has a soundtrack?') Maybe I'll give it another shot later today.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:58 AM on November 23, 2013


I'm surprised that you didn't like UT2004, if you liked UT. I consider UT2004 assault to be the absolute best multiplayer FPS experience of all time.

I thought it was better than UT2003, but I preferred the movement in UT and IIRC I really disliked the changes to a weapon -- "7" maybe? It's been 9 years. When did that happen.

Also the biggest argument against the nostalgizing above


Great soundtrack, but don't discount DOOM's music either. E1M1 was a great kick off (kind thanks to Metallica). Between mods, LANs, their versatile 3d engines and speedrunning, id has been quite the company.
posted by ersatz at 4:03 PM on November 23, 2013


Ahem. Wolfenstein—Muse Software, Baltimore. Sheesh.

Thank you sonascope! It always gives me a little twinge inside when people show they're unaware that Wolfenstein 3D was not the original Wolfenstein game. It wasn't even the second! The originals were Apple II games called Castle Wolfenstein by Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, by Silas Warner (RIP 2004). I remember hearing that the 3D games were named after the originals as an homage, but one that came to displace the memory of the Apple games in the video game community's perceptions.
posted by JHarris at 3:07 AM on November 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a sub account with my bank for the rift so that I can buy it on day one. So looking forward to this with iRacing. People who've played with the dev kit say that the immersion is incredible. I'm sure my wife will divorce me but it will probably be worth it.
posted by daHIFI at 10:21 AM on November 24, 2013


I still play Doom on the regular. Favorite way to play: Risen 3d source port, plug in all the models & high res textures, turn down the lighting, & replace the music w/ the soundtrack to a nightmare on elm st. Listening to that piano theme, children chanting, all while demons growl at you from the shadows is freaky as all hell.
posted by broken wheelchair at 7:18 PM on November 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


And here's the holodeck.
posted by empath at 9:31 AM on November 25, 2013


Unreal was better.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:27 PM on November 25, 2013


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